Best Italian Restaurant in the area

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What's the best Italian place in the area?

There are five that come to mind.

Piccola Italia Bistro on MLK near Seminole heights is a small affair but absolutely delicious. The chef and some of the staff are from Italy adding to the home country bistro feel of the place.

Bella’s is a long-standing (like since 1982 I think?) Soho institution serves up delicious scratch-made Italian every day. I highly recommend the confetti spaghetti, add sausage, and then Vesuvio (scratch-made lava cake with ample high-grade ‘lava’) at the end. Prepare for a deep sleep afterward.

Donatellos’ is an amazing old-school spot on Dale Mabry. Think red lights inside and waiters in tuxedos. They also have a large dessert table on display and amazing food to boot.

Pia’s in Gulfport makes monumentally delicious pasta from scratch. A great spot to end a day trip or beach trip, and has inside and outside seating.

Il Ritourno in downtown St Pete is what I’d call “Italian fine cuisine”. It is not pasta and sauce.. well, I mean it is, at least many of the dishes, but it is so thoughtfully and carefully prepared that this place is one of the few “fine dining” establishments in Tampa Bay. Remember, fine dining isn’t the price tag or steaks, it’s the care put into the entire experience. Reservations are pretty much required here.

Kyle Sasser

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